Orthodontist Warns Against Do-It-Yourself / Direct-to-Consumer Alignment Products

Better Business Bureau Reports 1,000+ Consumer Complaints about Direct-to-Consumer Braces

(Issued Summer/Fall 2019) — The Better Business Bureau has received more than 1,050 customer complaints against the SmileDirectClub and its Direct-To-Customer (DTC) / Do-It-Yourself (DIY) invisible aligner product. Dr. Andrew Chase of ARCH Orthodontics is not surprised.

“Ever since DTC aligners were introduced, we have been warning against trying to correct tooth alignment and spacing issues on your own,” says Dr. Chase. “Orthodontic treatment is not a product. It is a complex medical process. Upfront DIY/ DTC Orthodontic costs are less, but they come with the HIGH RISK of jeopardizing your health, smile, and self-esteem — and ultimately can be much more expensive.”

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), of which Dr. Chase is a long-time member, has serious concerns about direct-to-consumer Orthodontics. The AAO says some reports of alleged health and/or treatment issues “appear to be at odds with SmileDirectClub’s claim that “there’s nothing harmful with clear aligners… You can’t really hurt people with this.” The AAO disagrees because Orthodontic aligners are meant to move teeth, and if that movement is not done correctly, it can lead to potentially irreversible and/or expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues, some of which may not arise immediately.”

Dr. Chase says, “I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. You don’t have the experience to know something is not going correctly, and long-distance businesses can’t properly align teeth based on your selfie and a piece of plastic. Skilled Orthodontists use high-tech tools and knowledge for the best outcome. Quality Orthodontics is not quick, easy, or inexpensive. Creating the perfect smile is an art form that requires education, training, and
skill in the physics of moving teeth. Shifting teeth is a biological process involving bone dissolving and rebuilding as they move into new positions. You need the supervision of an Orthodontist, in-person consultation, diagnostic records, and ongoing follow-up.” Dr. Chase estimates that ARCH has created great smiles for over 30,000 patients of all ages.

ARCH has worked with many patients who were dissatisfied with the DIY / DTC approach – many of whom made an appointment after they realized Orthodontics isn’t a do-it-yourself project. Dr. Chase says, “Even if you started down the wrong path, we have a talented team that can reverse the damage.”

This year marks ARCH’s 45th anniversary. ARCH, with 9 offices between Boston and Hyannis, offers a free initial consultation and interest-free financing. Courtesy discounts are offered to anyone serving in the military and their families and veterans, and to municipal employees and their families in towns served by the practice. For more info contact: smilemaker@archorthodontics.com / 781-209-6776

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